In re B.Y.G.M., 176 So. 3d 290 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2015)

B.Y.G.M. appealed dismissal of her private petition for dependency on the basis of abandonment and neglect by her father. The Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) affirmed. B.Y.G.M. was abandoned by her father when she was eight months old in El Salvador. She lived with her grandparents until she fled to the United States […]

In re K.B.L.V., 176 So. 3d 279 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2015)

K.B.L.V. appealed dismissal of his private petition for dependency based upon abandonment. The Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) affirmed. K.B.L.V. was seventeen years old when he filed a private petition for dependency. At the time, he was living with his mother in Florida. It was undisputed that his father abandoned him in Honduras. […]

M.M. v. Department of Children and Family Services, 2015 WL 4077501 (Fla. 3rd DCA)

Father sought review of an order terminating the Department of Children and Families’ (Department) supervision of the children. The Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) granted the petition only as to the portion of the order that limited father’s future visitation with the children. The trial court terminated supervision of the children based on […]

The Women’s Council of Realtors Florida State Chapter donates over “851” new suitcases to the Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation

[Tallahassee, Florida] –  Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program, announced today that  The Women’s Council of Realtors Florida State Chapter collected “851” new suitcases/rolling bags to benefit the children in foster care that are represented by a Guardian ad Litem volunteer. The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program’s mission is […]

Learn More About Supported Decision Making

We all learned so much from Jonathan Martinis and his keynote address at the 2015 GAL Disabilities Training Conference -Supported Decision-Making:  From Justice for Jenny to Justice for All!  You can learn even more by visiting the Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities website at  If you missed the 2015 GAL Disabilities Conference you […]

Technical assistance issued regarding civil rights of parents and prospective parents with disabilites

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) are issuing this technical assistance to assist state and local child welfare agencies and courts to ensure that the welfare of children and families is protected in a manner that also protects the civil rights of parents […]

2015 Florida Guardian ad Litem Disabilities Training Conference – Imagining the Future Videos are Posted!

This year over 450 attorneys, judges and child welfare professionals attended the Second Annual Florida Guardian ad Litem Program Disabilities Training Conference.  The keynote speakers were inspiring, thought provoking and gave child welfare professionals in attendance tools to use in helping the children they work with every day.  The workshops were wide ranging with presenters sharing their […]

In re R.T., 2015 WL 1259666 (Fla. 2d DCA)

Mother petitioned the court for a writ of certiorari seeking to quash the trial court’s order requiring her three teenage sons to undergo therapeutic assessments in connection with the denial of Mother’s motion to amend a safety plan prohibiting Mother’s husband, S.K., from having contact with her sons. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second […]

In re YV., 2015 WL 1578561 (Fla. 1st DCA)

This appeal follows dismissal of a private petition for dependency on behalf of a minor child who illegally emigrated alone from Honduras to the United States. Y.V. was abused and abandoned by his parents in Honduras. He crossed the Mexico-United States border alone, was picked up by “authorities,” who contacted his uncle in Florida. Uncle […]

Update – GAL Legislative Budget June 15,2015

Guardian ad Litem Team, The House and Senate are close to agreement on a General Appropriations Act and hope to pass a final budget no later than June 19. Based on the decisions made to date (and these are not likely to change at this point), the Guardian ad Litem budget will remain at its […]

Department of Children and Families v. T.S., 154 So.3d 1223 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015)

The trial court dismissed a petition for dependency sua sponte at a fourth continued arraignment hearing over the objection of the Department of Children and Families (Department). The matter had been continued three times because the Department was unable to locate either parent, and the child absconded from shelter placement. A pick-up order was outstanding […]

J.A.I. v. B.R., 2015 WL 404001 (Fla. 2d DCA)

J.A.I. and J.K.C. filed a petition for writ of certiorari seeking review of a trial court order requiring them and J.A.I.’s daughter to submit to genetic testing for the purpose of determining paternity. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) granted the writ finding that B.R. was precluded from challenging paternity. J.A.I. and J.K.C. […]

State v. T.S., 155 So.3d 476 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015)

The trial court found that the Department of Children and Families (Department) met the statutory factors for termination of parental rights and established that termination was in the best interests of the child but denied termination, finding it was not the least restrictive means to protect the child. The Department appealed the findings related to […]

Governor Rick Scott Signs Regis Little Act to Protect Children

Tallahassee, Florida] -  Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law the Regis Little Act to Protect Children with Special Needs, which ensures vulnerable foster youth have a guardian in place at age 18. In 2008, Regis Little was a child of Florida’s foster care system.  With an IQ of 65, he was bipolar, hyperactive, […]


JUDGE GLADSTONE RECEIVES THE PRESTIGIOUS CHILES ADVOCACY AWARD (Video)  Judge Gladstone’s 40-year career on the bench and his work as a vocal advocate on behalf of dependent children and families in Florida was honored when he received the Chiles Advocacy Award at this year’s Children’s Week in Tallahassee Florida.  The award is given to a […]

Guardians for Foster Children

A bill that would provide guardians for foster children who are severely disabled and turning 18 is moving in both houses of the Florida Legislature. The Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs unanimously passed the bill by Senator Nancy Detert (DEE-turt) on Thursday. The bill aims to identify Floridians who don’t have the […]

Call for Proposals 2015 GAL Disabilities Training Conference

  The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) invites you to submit a proposal to present at the 2015 Disabilities Training Conference: Imagining the Future to be held May 21 -22, 2015 at the JW Marriott, Grande Lakes Orlando.  This conference will bring together attorneys ad litem, attorneys and non-attorneys from government agencies and as […]

Visit the Statewide GAL Office’s New and Improved Website

Our website has been redesigned to better serve Florida’s child welfare advocates!  On it you will find how to get involved with the GAL Program, training, resources, local program and non-profit information, the  latest news and case summaries – including the Legal Briefs Newsletter.  Visit 

The Akerman Law Firm is the recipient of the 2015 Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation Award

The 2015 Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation Award is presented by the Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Bar recognizing Akerman for their contribution in the provision of bro bono legal services to individuals or groups that cannot otherwise afford the services.  This award recognizes the extraordinary commitment on the part of Akerman in providing access […]

R.L. v. W.G., 147 So.3d 1054 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014)

The Fifth District Court of Appeals affirmed an order denying the former foster parents’ motion to intervene in termination proceedings. The Department petitioned to terminate the Mother’s parental rights. While Mother’s rights were still intact, Mother chose to have her cousin (W.G.) adopt her child. The court found W.G. to be qualified and ordered the child […]

H.C. v. Department of Children and Families, 2014 WL 3805524 (Fla. 5th DCA)

The Mother appealed an order denying her motion to reopen the dependency case to modify the trial court’s order placing the children in permanent guardianship with their paternal grandparents. The Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed denial finding that the parent has the burden of proving that the children’s safety, well-being, and physical, mental and emotional […]

In re: The Adoption of K.A.G., 2014 WL 7331269 (Fla. 5th DCA)

Paternal grandmother and Father appeal the trial court’s judgment dismissing Grandmother’s petition to adopt K.A.G. Father was charged with killing his child’s mother and was incarcerated awaiting trial. The Department of Children and Families (department) began dependency proceedings, placed the child with his aunt and petitioned to terminate Father’s parental rights. Concurrently, Grandmother petitioned the […]

C.B. v. Department of Children and Families, 148 So.3d 833 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014)

Father appealed part of the trial court’s dispositional order requiring him to participate in anger management. The Department conceded error in that the evidence presented to the trial court failed to demonstrate a need for such counseling. Florida Rule of Juvenile Procedure 8.410(b)(4) provides that the case plan be “meaningful and designed to address the […]

V.C.B. v. Shakir, 145 So.3d 967 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)

Maternal grandparents appealed the denial of their petition to terminate Father’s rights and adopt their grandchild. The trial court found that Father abandoned the child both financially and emotionally but that Father did not willfully disregard the minor child’s safety. The trial court held that such a finding was necessary to terminate parental rights pursuant […]

E.H. v. Department of Children and Families, 147 So.3d 616 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)

Mother appealed the dependency adjudication of her child, asserting the trial court’s order was not supported by competent substantial evidence. The Fourth DCA affirmed the trial court’s adjudication order. Mother had a history of mental illness and domestic violence with father. Four years prior, mother had another child removed following allegations that mother said she […]